A Down Season? Not For Adrian

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 4, 2010 – 11:35 am

A constant criticism I’ve heard this year from people who follow the Vikings is about Adrian Peterson. It’s as if some suggest that #28 had a down year.

And I’m just not seeing it.

Or maybe I’m just not agreeing with it. I can see where fans point to the 7 lost fumbles. I’ll acknowledge, that is a bad mark on his body of work. And it’s also important to point out that his yards per carry number went down this season while his negative yardage runs went up.

But with all of that said, I look back at Peterson’s season to this point and think he actually had a great year. He finished 2nd in the NFC and 5th in the NFL in rushing yards with 1,383, which is the 3rd best single-season effort in Vikings history and is more than he had during his rookie season. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry and was 2nd in the NFL in runs of 20+ yards.

Perhaps most importantly, though, is the fact that Peterson tallied a league-high 18 TDs and set a Vikings single-season records for games with a TD (12).

Another criticism I hear about Peterson is that the Vikings don’t use him correctly. But again, I disagree. I’d actually argue that the Vikings have done a great job so far this season of using #28.

Sure, there are times late in games – in crunch time – when the Vikings best player (Peterson) isn’t in the game. But isn’t that why you have a player such as Chester Taylor? If you’ve got a guy who can pass protect and come out of the backfield as a great receiver in the screen game and the short passing game, why not use him?

On top of that, utilizing Peterson and Taylor in combination has probably increased production from Peterson. Since Peterson was drafted by the Vikings in 2007, Taylor has 352 carries and he’s gained 4.5 yards per carry. So, the Vikings have taken 352 carries off of Peterson’s workload (that’s a whole season’s worth of carries) over the past 3 seasons and they’ve still gained 4.5 yards on each of those carries. That’s a very good job of managing RBs.

Just think about how quickly we’ve seen guys such as Larry Johnson and Terrell Davis and Jamal Anderson fall off the shelf because of over-use. The Vikings are avoiding that by using Taylor a fair amount. It’s extending Peterson’s career and, this year more than any other year, it’s kept Peterson fresh as we approach the playoffs.

Finally, one more reason I think Peterson has had a great year and the Vikings have done a great job of managing the league’s best RB is because they’re continuing to improve his overall skill set. Peterson had a career-high 43 receptions for 436 yards during the 2009 regular season. His previous single-season high for receptions was 21 for 125 yards. The coaching staff is finding more ways to get him the ball? I’m all for that.

My conclusion is the Vikings used Peterson beautifully this season. They put him in when it counted (18 TDs), they saved wear and tear on him (Chester had 138 touches) and they nearly doubled his previous career-high in receptions.

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “A Down Season? Not For Adrian”

  1. By micahqs on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    Well said, I have also been frustrated at people for criticizing Peterson too much. It’s cool that we can have such high expectations though I guess.

  2. By Tony on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    MArk my words, AP is going to have a least one HUGE game in the playoffs. He si way overdue to break a few big runs and I’m sure Favre will know when to simply hand it off and watch him go. My guess is that it will happen on second or third down when everyone expects pass and a small lane opens up and THERE HE GOES ! The road to Miami is simple: protect Favre, pressure the opponent’s QB, no turnovers, and cover the big play receivers (like Fitzgerald).

  3. By vikefan4eva on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    AP is dangerous no doubt about it and too underestimate him is stupid.
    That being said he can also be very inconsistent especially when he CAN’T HOLD ON TO THE BALL! He needs to learn when to go down and how to protect the ball, because he could cost us the playoffs if he doesn’t.

  4. By Nate F. on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    do you think vikes should go for the following players
    Julius Peppers
    Shawn Merriman
    Osi Umenyiora
    Terell Owens
    Randy Moss (if his contract’s up)

    I really want to see this as a blog to hear people’s comments about it


  5. By Scott on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    The numbers show an off year, Wobschall should just admit it. If AP is the best running back in the league, he shouldn’t have so many rushes for negative yards, or fumbles – the one in OT against the Bears was costly. One play does not turn a game – other mistakes by the rest of the team earlier in the game – but this was crunch time. Also, all opponents stacked the box, but same for Chris Johnson in Tenn and he still rushed for 600 more than AP. While it’s very unlikely that any RB will lead the league every year, and some of his drop in production was out of his control (fewer carries and better passing game), he wasn’t as good this year, and had shortcomings in the areas he could – negative rushes and fumbles.

  6. By Jake on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    People should never be critisizing AP dont you remember when he ran a total of over 1000 yards in a game mid season

  7. By Jake on Jan 4, 2010 | Reply

    sorry meant 100 not 1000

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